Tips For Overcoming Jet Lag
Travelling can really take its toll on the body and the mind. Jumping timezones, not getting enough sleep, getting terrible sleep on planes, shitty beds, neighbours (or bars) that won't shut-up at a decent hour all have negative affects.
By the time I arrived in Mexico I was seriously tired. You know you're in trouble when you're not quite sure of the date, day of the week or what the local time is – struggling to remember where you've been over the last few weeks.
It took me a few days to realise — yep that's how tired I was — that I'd travelled through three countries (Morocco, Germany and Mexico) — in one week!
In that week I travelled by bus and train from Essaouira to Fes in Morocco (12 hours later!), caught a flight from Fes, Morocco to Dusseldorf, Germany (luckily spending two nights there) and then caught a 10 hour flight to Cancun, Mexico.
So I was tired and jet lagged...but what to do? These are the behaviours that I have changed that helped get my body and mind readjusted:
no caffeine after 5pm – having a chamomile tea instead of a regular tea or a coffee.
no electronics after 7pm – no laptop, TV, iphone or going through photos on your camera. The only exception to this I have is my e-reader because I like to read before bed (at home I love proper books but while travelling e-readers are fantastic). Mine doesn't have a light built-in to the screen but a little pop-up one. Somehow this helps me justify the slight break in the "no electronics after 7pm" rule.
don't have phone/s near the bed - and avoid using them as an alarm if you can. There's no temptation to check emails, social media and any alerts or messages won't disturb sleep in the middle of the night.
go to bed before 10pm – I was getting into the habit of going to bed after midnight and getting up after 9am, it's not great long-term. I've read in a few places that going to bed by 10 pm and actually being asleep by 11pm is important for your body to function at its optimal levels.
The combination of all four points has helped me relax well before trying to get to sleep. My body isn't wired up on caffeine and my mind isn't over stimulated by the glow of an electronic device or a movie.
I try to stick to this routine most nights. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't – I'm not too hard on myself if I don't.
Overall, changing these behaviours on most nights helps me get to sleep easier and I find I have a good sleep – like one of many cats in Essaouira, Morocco...